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Spokane, Washington

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Parenting Plans Modifications

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A parenting plan modification, or change to your existing parenting plan, may result if an unforeseen change in circumstance has resulted since your final parenting plan was entered and such a change is in the best interests of your child or children. A parenting plan modification may be a major or minor modification, although there are differences between the two. County superior courts, such as Spokane, will generally retain the existing parenting plan unless substantial changes in circumstance necessitate the modification.

What is the difference between a Major and Minor Parenting Plan Modification?

A major parenting plan modification is a change to your existing parenting plan that modifies the plan more than twenty four full calendar days, exceeds ninety total overnights in a calendar year, or changes placement/custody of the child or children between parents.

An unforeseen substantial change in circumstance that has occurred since the existing parenting plan was entered is necessary for a major modification. This major modification must also serve the best interests of your child or children.

Washington Domestic Relations Statute RCW 26.09.260 - Modification of a Parenting Plan or Custody Decree is the relevant Statute for parenting plan modifications. It states that a major modification to your existing parenting plan may only result in one of four ways:

  1. The parents agree to the modification;

  2. The child has been integrated into the family of the petitioner with the consent of the other parent in substantial deviation from the parenting plan;

  3. The child's present environment is detrimental to the child's physical, mental, or emotional health and the harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantage of a change to the child; or

  4. The court has found the nonmoving parent in contempt of court at least twice within three years because the parent failed to comply with the residential time provisions in the court-ordered parenting plan, or the parent has been convicted of custodial interference in the first or second decree.
    [RCW 26.09.260(2)]


Pursuant to Note 3 above, any detriment to a child must rise to the level described in [RCW 26.09.191].

A minor parenting plan modification is a change to your existing parenting plan that does not exceed twenty-four full days in a calendar year or does not result in a schedule that exceeds ninety overnights per year in total. A minor parenting plan modification may also result on a change of residence of the parent with whom the child does not reside the majority of the time or an involuntary change in work schedule by a parent that makes the parenting plan impractical to follow.

A substantial unforeseen change in circumstance to either parent or child is necessary for a minor parenting plan modification and furthermore requires that the child or children not change the residence he/she is schedule to reside the majority of time.

Washington Domestic Relations Statute RCW 26.09.260(5) is also the Statute on point for minor parenting plan modifications.

A minor parenting plan modification may also result if the existing parenting plan does not provide reasonable time with the parent with whom the child does not reside a majority of the time provided the court finds such a modification is in the child's best interests.

[RCW 26.09.260(5)(c)]

Minor parenting plan modifications, specifically an adjustment, may also result to non-residential aspects of your parenting plan, including the transportation, dispute resolution, and decision-making authority provisions. These adjustments require a substantial change in circumstance or circumstance of either parent or of a child, and the adjustment is in the best interest of the child. [RCW 26.09.260(10)] However, if a parent requires or requests unilateral decision making, please reference [RCW 26.09.187(2)(b)] Although unilateral decision making can be requested, it is still difficult to obtain it unless these factors are clearly met.

Again, parenting plan modifications, either major or minor modifications, require a tremendous knowledge base on many pertinent statutes as well as legal procedure. Outside of the Washington Domestic Relations Statutes above, you will undoubtedly be best served with a knowledgeable attorney to represent you. A good lawyer can guide you through the process efficiently and effectively to help obtain the best possible outcome in court.

Phone for Free Consultation: 509.325.0125


Parenting Plan Menu
Parenting Plans: Definition & Purpose Policy & Litigation of Parenting Plans
Temporary vs. Final Parenting Plans Parenting Plans Modifications
Statutes Relevant to Parenting Plans

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Phone: 509.325.0125
Fax: 509.456.2085
Paul A. DiNenna, Jr.
7 S. Howard, Suite 425
Spokane, WA 99201



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Lawyer, Attorney, Family Law, Spokane, WAshington